Losing Audio with RealTek ALC889A

I have a Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R mobo with RealTek AL889C audio on board. Also have an MSI Radeon X3850 that has a sound device for the HDMI, but I do not have that configured as I am not utilizing an HDMI connection.

Sound will work in apps like mplayer, qmmp, etc, but when Firefox is launched, sound will work there but no longer in any other app. Typical app error messages are “Could not open/initialize audio device” etc.

Sound returns either after a reboot.

The system information:

opensuse 11.1

head -n 1 /proc/asound/card0/codec*

Codec: Realtek ALC889A

rpm -qa | grep alsa


rpm -qa | grep pulse


rpm -q libasound2


uname -a
Linux linux #1 SMP 2008-12-04 18:10:04 +0100 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux

cat /etc/modprobe.d/sound
alias snd-card-0 snd-hda-intel
alias sound-slot-0 snd-hda-intel

Output of alsa-info.sh:


What you could do, to see what device has seized your audio, is copy and paste into a gnome terminal or a kde konsole the following:
lsof /dev/dsp* /dev/audio* /dev/mixer* /dev/snd/*do that when your sound works (and save the output in a text file) and do it when your sound does not work and you will get a flavour as to what it should look like. It may tell you what device has seized your sound.

Also, as opposed to restarting to get your sound back, instead restart your alsa sound driver by typing: su -c ‘rcalsasound restart’ and enter root password when prompted , restart your mixer.

OK, when I lose sound on the desktop, output of

lsof /dev/dsp* /dev/audio* /dev/mixer* /dev/snd/* yields

mixer_app 10381 <user> 23u CHR 116,9 0t0 378305 /dev/snd/controlC0
firefox-b 12020 <user> mem CHR 116,6 378336 /dev/snd/pcmC0D0p
firefox-b 12020 <user> 243u CHR 116,6 0t0 378336 /dev/snd/pcmC0D0p

Which follows firefox grabbing the sound card. Using rcalsasound restart terminates firefox and restores sound to the desktop.

Restart of firefox and sound works on desktop until the first time that I firefox uses sound on any web page, then sound is lost on the desktop again with the sound status as shown above. This problem did not exit with my SoundBlaster 5.1 PCI. I do see that there is an alsa 1.0.19. Worth a try?

Worth a try? Yes. Likely to help? IMHO no.

There is a risk that when you install 1.0.19 of alsa, the next kernel security update will break your sound, and you will need to re-install alsa.

I had a few crashes after a few bouts with the ATI driver, now the audio works on the desktoop but never in firefox. when I try: lsof /dev/dsp* /dev/audio* /dev/mixer* /dev/snd/*

I get this:

lsof: WARNING: can’t stat() fuse.gvfs-fuse-daemon file system /home/<user>/.gvfs
Output information may be incomplete.

alsaconf runs with no errors.

rcalsasound restart yields:

ALSA lib conf.c:3009:(snd_config_update_r) Cannot access file /etc/alsa-pulse.conf
ALSA lib control.c:909:(snd_ctl_open_noupdate) Invalid CTL hw:0
/usr/sbin/alsactl: get_controls:552: snd_ctl_open error: No such file or directory
Shutting down sound driverALSA lib conf.c:3009:(snd_config_update_r) Cannot access file /etc/alsa-pulse.conf
ALSA lib seq.c:935:(snd_seq_open_noupdate) Unknown SEQ default
can’t open sequencer
Starting sound driver: hda-intel

Any ideas on how I can begin to straighten out this mess? Thanks.

It seems to be complaining that it can not access things that it should be able to access.

I wonder if it might be a permissions problem? I do recall helping a user some time back, where that user had an ALC889A, and part of their solution was to add their regular user to group “audio” (and then restart their PC). How about trying that? There is guidance here (in step-6 of the troubleshooting guide that I wrote) on how to add a regular user to group audio: SDB:AudioTroubleshooting - Fix a permissions problem - openSUSE

Appears to be fixed now. I installed the alsa 1.0.19 from the alsa site. Volume is now what is was before with the Soundblaster 5.1. Also, the sound card configuration in Yast now actually plays the test sound, where it did not before; although sound would play on the desktop with the characteristics as listed in my previous posts. Thanks. (Now back to the ATI drivers…)

Congratulations on getting this to work and also for sharing your solution.

I did research (prior) the ALC889A, and obtained this from the alsa site: Search results for ALC889A - AlsaProject

openSUSE-11.1 generally comes with 1.0.18, so I did not expect an alsa update to work. Still , there is the possibility that the problem you encountered was not ALC889A specific, but rather related. And its also possible the openSUSE “enhanced” 1.0.17 driver that comes with 11.1 (where the libraries and tools on openSUSE-11.1 are all 1.0.18 of alsa) did not contain the last fix in 1.0.18 in the URL search results I just noted.

Good on ya also in installing from the alsa update. Many users mess that up.
Updating alsa - openSUSE